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Communicating with a loved one with dementia presents a lot of new challenges, but there are ways to make it easier, more effective, and more enjoyable for both of you.
Someone with dementia may exhibit multiple signs of struggling to communicate.
Providence providers share ways to simplify your conversations while keeping your loved one engaged.
If someone you care about has been diagnosed with a form of dementia, you’ve probably struggled to communicate with them, and may have even altered your approach.
The challenges of breaking down your communication into simple ideas, concepts or directions can be frustrating. And it’s equally difficult for the person living with a rapidly diminishing ability to understand others and, in turn, be understood.
Depending on the severity of their condition, someone with dementia may exhibit any or all of the following characteristics:
- Difficulty finding the right words
- Describing objects instead of naming them
- Reverting to a first language
- Easily losing their train of thought
- Combining unrelated phrases or ideas in one thought
- Relying heavily on gestures over speech
- Speaking less often
Here are some strategies to help make communication a two-way conversation you both enjoy.
Dementia describes a decline in mental ability that’s severe enough to disrupt your daily activities. It is a progressive condition that causes changes to the brain that lead to increased forgetfulness and a decreasing ability to think, reason and problem solve. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia, which also includes Lewy body dementia, vascular dementia, Parkinson’s disease, frontotemporal dementia and mixed dementia.
Learn more about the progression of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and challenges of communicating with someone with the condition from Dr. Maureen Nash at Providence Elder Place in Portland, Oregon. Listen to the conversation here.
Find a doctor
The team of specialists at Providence understand that caring for someone with dementia requires a wide range of services to help you meet the changing physical, emotional and mental needs of everyone involved. You can find a Providence geriatric specialist using our provider directory.
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This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
About the AuthorMore Content by Providence Seniors Health Team